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Full text of "A history of Persia"

THE AWAKENING OF PERSIA        485
Alt Asghar Khan, the Atabeg-i-Aazam.óMter the
fall of Mirza Husayn Khan, in 1873, there was but one
Sadr-i-4azam until the appointment of All Asghar Khan
by Nasir-u-Din to be his Grand Vizier, under the title
of Amin-u-Sultan or " The Trusted of the Monarch."
Son of a royal cup-bearer and grandson of a Georgian
cook of Gurtan, near Isfahan, the Amin-u-Sultan was
typically Persian in his opportunism, his political acute-
ness, his charming manners, and his lack of business
qualities.
During the reign of Nasir-u-Din he was very much
the servant of that capable monarch. He exercised
much greater influence under the weak Muzaffar-u-Din,
as that sovereign owed his undisputed succession to the
excellent arrangements made by the Grand Vizier, who
wisely followed the advice of Sir Mortimer Durand, the
British Minister. A year after the succession of the new
Shah the Sadr-i-Aazam (as h^. had become) was driven
from office through the .efforts of-a party headed by
H.H. the Farman Farmaj'-the cousin', son-in-law and
brother-in-law of the new ^ monarch, 'and certainly one
of the ablest men in Persia.,
After a year spent in exitej the Sadr-i-Aazam was
restored to his post, which he held for five years, latterly
with the tide of Atabeg-i-Aazam. He suffered great
unpopularity during this period for allowing Persia to
become financially involved ; and yet the Shah constantly
wanted" more money to waste on the most unworthy
objects. Pul mikhawam (I want money) was his parrot-
like cry, after the Minister had explained the impossibility
of raising a fresh loan. The Atabeg-i-Aazam was afraid
to go further on this ghastly rake's progress, and this
weakened his position with the Shah. Moreover, dis-
turbances were reported in many parts of Persia and these
again lowered his prestige. Finally, the death of his rival,
the Hakim-ul-Mulk, in the most suspicious circumstances
apparently alarmed the Shah. At any rate, his own
dismissal followed.
Anglo-Russian Rivalry.óDuring the period dealt
with in this chapter the rivalry between Great Britain